What is a DUI?

DUI stands for 'driving under the influence,' meaning driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Specifically, however, a DUI only applies to people under the age of 21 in Texas, those who are not old enough to legally drink alcohol. Texas operates under a 'zero tolerance' policy for minors who drink and drive. This means that if a minor driving a motor vehicle has any detectable trace of alcohol on them, they can be charged with a DUI. Therefore, if you are under 21 and are pulled over after having as little as one drink, you can receive a drinking and driving charge, even though you are not legally drunk. Instead, you are being punished for the simple act of consuming alcohol under the legal age.

What is the Difference Between DUI and DWI in Texas?

DUI and DWI are both related to drinking and driving, but the distinction has to do with age of the offender and the recorded BAC at the scene. Here is an explanation of the differences between DUI and DWI in Texas.


In Texas, there is zero tolerance for under-aged drinking, meaning a person under the age of 21 cannot drive with a BAC of any level. There can be no detectable sign of alcohol in their blood in the least. If a person under the age of 21 is breathalyzed and found with a BAC of as little as .02, he or she can be charged with a DUI. On the other hand, if someone who is at least 21 years old is breathalyzed and receives the same BAC of .02, he or she will most likely be free to go, as long as no other laws have been broken.


A DWI, which stands for 'driving while intoxicated,' is a much harsher offense than a DUI, and this is reflected in stiff DWI penalties. For a DWI, anyone caught driving with a BAC of .08 or higher is legally intoxicated, and can be charged with the crime. However, it is possible for a person under the age of 21 to be charged with a DWI . If the under-aged driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is greater than .08, the charge is upped to a serious DWI charge. To learn more about DWI penalties in Texas, check out our DWI page.

Texas DUI Penalties

A DUI is considered a Class C misdemeanor, and there are many penalties for a DUI that can negatively impact your life, though there is no possibility for jail time. For instance, you could be forced to pay a fine of as much as $500 , and for young people especially, this can be a significant amount of money to pay. Moreover, a DUI conviction could land you with up to 40 hours of community service that you must complete within a certain time period. This can make juggling school, a job, extracurricular activities, and hobbies, along with this mandatory community service very difficult; not to mention, this can put a significant strain on your social life.

It does not stop there, but a DUI conviction could require you to attend mandatory alcohol awareness classes –don't even think about trying to skip these, your attendance will be recorded and any discrepancies noted by the court. Lastly and probably most significant, if you are convicted of a DUI, your drivers license could be suspended for up to 60 days . This penalty will only further disrupt the life you have, making it hard to get to school, work, and important social events.

As you can see, even though you will not go to jail for your first DUI offense, there are many other consequences that can negatively impact your life in more ways than you can imagine. As a young person under 21, you probably have a lot on your plate; you definitely do not have room for the repercussions of a DUI charge.

Are You Being Charged with a DUI in Austin?

Young people are bound to make mistakes; it is simply a part of growing up. At Carroll Troberman, PLLC, we understand this. We are compassionate and dedicated attorneys who want to help you. We do not want you to experience the limiting effects of a DUI on your record because of one irresponsible mistake. Remember, you do not have to live with a DUI on your record.

Do Not Waste Time

It is important to act quickly because you only have 15 days from the date of your arrest to request a license hearing, which is a chance to contest the suspension of your drivers license. Contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible following your arrest so you can request a hearing in time and possibly keep your license. Also, seek legal aid soon because your lawyer will need time to compile the facts and form your case. The sooner you call Carroll Troberman, PLLC, the sooner we can begin building a defense and the sooner you can get back to your life.

Don't Settle For a DUI: Contact an Austin DUI Attorney

When you have been charged with a DUI, you need legal defense you can count on and trust to protect your rights. At Carroll Troberman, PLLC, we care about our clients and have legal expertise to negotiate your case quickly. Our attorneys handle DUI and DWI cases and have an extensive knowledge in plea bargain details and complex administrative procedures, an expertise that is necessary for the best possible outcome. With an experienced attorney with knowledge of the system on your side, there is a possibility that your penalties could be reduced, or your case even acquitted.

Both of our attorneys, Blair Carroll and Meredith "Shelly" Troberman, have strong working relationships with prosecutors and judges in the Travis County Court. In recognition of his extensive work in DUI and DWI defense, Blair has been accepted into the prestigious National College of DUI Defense. Together, Blair and Shelly can aggressively fight for your rights and get you back on your feet.

Give Us a Call Today

You will not be disappointed if you choose Carroll Troberman, PLLC; our lawyers are the best of the best when it comes to defending Austin DUI and DWI charges. Remember, the outcome of your charge truly depends on the criminal defense attorney you work with. Contact Carroll Troberman, PLLC to schedule a free consultation with one of our professional Austin DWI attorneys. Call 512-478-3800 today!

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